Friday, 29 July 2011

PnP Exercise 12: Close and Involved

One exercise I never seem to have an opportunity to try out is this one – using a wide angle lens to get in amongst the action. Again, being a tourist gave me a chance to have a try in a relatively comfortable setting.

Close and involved can have different meanings. In this one for example I was no more than a couple of feet from my wife and daughter but the use of a 7mm lens has made them appear quite distant. It has involved the passenger on the adjacent seat, but as a shot it’s a bit unsatisfying, and the distortion is a little too obvious

On the train

So, if a couple of feet is too far, how close do we need? This next shot was taken in a crowded lift, by the simple expedient of lifting the camera above my head and pressing the shutter. Again the focal length was 7mm, but this time it has worked in my favour by reducing the need to ‘aim’ accurately.

In the lift - Jungfraujoch

For my money this is a more interesting shot – why is everyone looking in a different direction? (obvious if you know the context), what’s through the glass doors? (wall as it happens). I also like the way the gentleman on the left is staring into the camera. I’m not sure he knew he was in the shot, but his stare is a key focal point of the picture.

This one taken at 8mm is also quite interesting – and a quite different situation. I was stood at a railing, right next to the gentleman on the left, and I’m sure he was not aware that I was trying to include him in the picture. The view itself is not that interesting because of the cloud – I was trying to get a feel of ‘waiting for something to happen’.


Shame he blinked!

The next shot is similar to the one in the lift – only this time it’s a cable car. There a bit more space, but people are engaged in the view – or simply hanging on – so again it is a comfortable situation. This time at 14mm.


And finally, a shot which combines something of both the last two – again at 7 mm.

Going down - the cable car to Stechelberg

This seems to me the most successful of my attempts. I was within touching distance of the lady with sunglasses so it was definitely up close and involved, it was very definitely comfortable and the wide angle adds some context to the shot. For me it works.


Under normal circumstances there is no way I would consider photographing people with a wide angle lens – I would simply find it to intimidating. However, when there are lots of people crushed relatively closely together and people are expecting cameras it is relatively easy to take unobtrusive and hopefully interesting shots.

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